Microsoft President Will Push Activision Deal During EU Hearing; Google, Nvidia also present

BRUSSELS, Feb 21 (Reuters) – Microsoft ( MSFT.O ) President Brad Smith will try to convince European Union antitrust regulators on Tuesday at a closed hearing that the U.S. software giant’s $69 billion bid for “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard (ATVI). O) will increase competition.

Smith will lead a delegation of 18 senior executives, including Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer, while Activision will be represented by CEO Robert Kotick, a European Commission document seen by Reuters showed.

The hearing will allow Xbox maker Microsoft to gauge the mood among senior EU and national competition officials and European Commission lawyers before submitting legal remedies to address antitrust concerns.

“I think we want to make it clear that our acquisition of Activision Blizzard will bring more games to more people on more devices and platforms than ever before,” Smith told reporters on the way to the hearing.

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Microsoft was willing to address concerns with “Call of Duty” licensing deals similar to the 10-year deal with Nintendo ( 7974.T ) and regulatory bodies, Smith added, without providing any further details.

Microsoft announced the Activision acquisition last January to take on leaders Tencent ( 0700.HK ) and Sony ( 6758.T ), but has faced regulatory headwinds in Europe, Britain and the United States.

Sony, which wants the deal blocked, sent games chief Jim Ryan.

Alphabet’s ( GOOGL.O ) Google and chip designer and computer company Nvidia Corp ( NVDA.O ), which has a gaming business, also took part in the hearing.

“The European Commission asked for our views during their investigations into this issue. We will continue to cooperate in all processes, when requested, to ensure that all views are considered,” a Google spokesperson said.

Nvidia declined to comment. The European Games Developer Federation, which has said the deal will allow Microsoft to challenge Apple ( AAPL.O ), Google and Tencent, is one of the participants.

Video game distributor Valve, video game publisher Electronic Arts ( EA.O ) and the German competition watchdog and its peers in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden will also take part in the event.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Chris Reese and Shounak Dasgupta

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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